Newman University honored former dean of the Newman University School of Nursing and Allied Health Mary “Joan” Felts, R.N., Ph.D. with the Cardinal Newman Medal at the annual Cardinal Newman and Alumni Awards Banquet on Saturday, Feb. 25 in the Dugan-Gorges Conference Center on the Newman Campus.
The banquet and awards ceremony is the culminating event in a week of festivities designed to honor the life, lessons and ideals of Blessed John Henry Cardinal Newman, the namesake of the university.
The Cardinal Newman Medal is conferred upon those who demonstrate in their daily life an appreciation of the spirit and ideals of Cardinal Newman and who have been instrumental in the growth and development of the university. It is the highest honor bestowed by the Newman University Board of Trustees.
In receiving the medal, Felts was cited for her years of work in the nursing program at Newman and her continuous contributions to the university. Felts joined Newman in 1979 as an assistant professor of nursing. She was the original chair of the Associate of Science in Nursing Division and later was named dean of the Newman School of Nursing and Allied Health, a position she held until her retirement in 2007. Felts played a crucial role in developing the Newman Nursing Program and helped it grow in numbers, stature, and respect among medical professionals. During her tenure she directed the development and implementation of Newman’s traditional Bachelor of Science in Nursing Program, as well as a master’s level program in nursing and the highly popular master’s degree program in Nurse Anesthesia.
Felts is a highly respected nursing and education professional, who among other honors was listed in Who’s Who in the Midwest, was twice appointed to and served as president of the Kansas State Board of Nursing, and was designated Professor Emerita in Nursing by Newman University. Under her leadership and vision, Newman has become one of the largest providers of health care education in the area. Felts and her husband have continued to contribute to Newman, primarily in the support of student scholarships.
The banquet also featured the presentation of the annual Alumni Awards. This year’s recipients were Clare Vanderpool, who received the Leon A. McNeill Distinguished Alumna in the Arts and Humanities Award; John R. Pyles, M.D., who received the Beata Netemeyer Service Award; Ami Angell, Ph.D., LLM, who received the Spirit of Acuto Transformational Leadership Award; and Dorothy Vossen Adams, Mary Green Shults, and Mary Agnes Brady Morley, who received the St. Maria De Mattias Award.